SRS Panic Attack induced Agoraphobia

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Suteki, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. Suteki

    Suteki Guest

    Just wondering if anyone has gone through or going through anything similar to this.

    Primarily i could say in many ways I brought this on myself and for that I cant and dont blame anyone for how my lifes changed but just accept it and attempt to correct it.

    For a period I was partaking in a few different chemicals, namely shit like MDMA, Amphetamines, MethAmphetamines occasionally and while I had tried a few others though the afforementioned were the main ones. Being something of a light weight with those substances and having little tolerance, I had set myself strict guidelines about what, how much and how often I would take something. I never had any bad experiences for some time until I had one night on a pill that was a rather ridiculously intense mixture of MDA and MDMA.

    Usually no matter how gone my head would be I could keep it together and be as straight as I needed, on this night however I totally lost it. This one pill was really doing my head in and I was starting to freak out in a major way. In the end I spent 2 hours in the toilets of a night club trying to piece my head together thinking I was seriously going to end up in a psyche ward or in hospital. Why I'm not sure but this wasnt the usual happy lovey dovey experience associated with E use, it was far to intense. After those 2 hrs however I started to come out of it and feel all the things normally associated with E however that one experience was a little too traumatic for my liking.

    Fast forward a few weeks and decide to have something before going out again. Its at this point before taking anything I start to freak out a little. Nothing major but defnately something wasnt quite right. I'd feel a little light headed, anxious and my stomach would cramp. It was never enough to totally put me off my night as it lasted a few hours but once out and about calmed down and wouldnt notice it. This happens before going out for a few weeks, each time only marginally getting worse until one night while driving out of nowhere I get really intense levels of anxiety, my stomach is cramping to the point I feel like I'm going to be sick and my head is so knocked around I feel like I'm really drunk; incredibly dizzy, feel like I'm gonna pass out and just all round feel like I'm losing control of what I'm doing (de-personalisation).

    At that point I say no more I have to get my head cleared out. By the time this had happen it was a little too late. I stopped using everything; this in itself wasnt that hard to do as the general guidelines I set myself were mainly to prevent me from getting addicted or allowing too great a risk for it so I never had any cravings or wishes to take anything again. However my mindset about what was happening had pretty much all but set in stone mentally.

    I knew I had been having panic attacks before going out. While not totally from that particular night I really flipped out, continuing to use and my family history with panic / anxiety attacks didnt help. So seeing a psychologist I explain what happen and its put down that my family history and drugs both play a part in whats going on. So I continue going about my life which was pretty much casual at home or mates houses hanging out and working fulltime, but I cant get my mind off the panic attacks and it gradually becomes a larger part of my life and eventually starts to control it. It was getting to the point that my panic attacks would hit me as soon as I was leaving the house.

    I know its not a panic disorder because I can pick exact triggers that set them off. So my panic attacks are not so much a chemical imbalance per se but a reaction I am mentally triggering. For awhile I end up just not being able to leave the house at all. I try going to work and I would last half a day and then have to leave. Fortunately my boss has been understanding of everything thus far and while I am still employed I havent worked for close to 4months now.

    Gradually, with help from a psychologist and medication prescribed by my GP (150mg Zoloft SSRi anti-depressant) I can get myself out of the house quite fine. I can go for a drive around the place, go for a walk around the local waterfront and the shops however I have yet to reach a point that I could just freely go where ever I wanted. In my mind atleast, I've sort of setup a boundary. My comfort zone has extended beyond my house to the surrounding suburbs however when it comes to getting to the major shopping / industrial suburb (this is where my work is too) in the area, I cant bring myself to pushing that boundary. I havent had a full blown panic attack for a while and I'm a little freaked out having one now would undo all that I've done so far, but at the same time, by not doing it I'm not improving either. I've sort of come to a stale mate with my own mind.

    So now I'm in the position where I need to encourage myself to push a little further. My g/f lives interstate, so in order to see her I need to work for the money, and then fly to visit her. That in itself should be enough encouragement to sort this shit out but its taking a litle longer then expected. I do expect to get over this agoraphobic mindset I have put into my own head. For awhile I couldnt leave the house, now i can but I'm still not at the point I can go anywhere major, or atleast put myself in a position where I have a responsibility and place to be as the mere thought that I would be out for x amount of hours is a mental lock-down like I'm trapped in that position and have to deal with it, that thought alone is enough to actually trigger a panic attack in my mind.

    So I'm just wondering, since having started this I have noticed that quite a few ppl have had panic attacks affecting them, not to the point I have had for the past 6 months but enough to realise its more common then I first anticipated. I've also read of ppl so affected by it they have spent their entire lives indoors. That I sure as hell do NOT plan on doing. No matter how sick I got, at one point or another I will just have someone drag me out repeatedly till I realise in my mind nothing is going to happen. How many others have found themselves in a similar position, or atleast someone they've known?

    on a side note - my panic attacks are less mental and more physical. I can deal with the head problems, the feeling that maybe something bad is going to happen, that I'm losing control; that I have learnt to deal with, its the huge amount of adrenalin going through my system cramping my stomach making me feel physically like I'm going to throw up, clenching my jaw and "suffocation" responses that are currently affecting me the most. Some ppl say the worst part for them is the feeling drunk or out of control. For one reason or another I can deal with that, the physical effects I have trouble with

    sorry for the long read btw
     
  2. Phish Esq.

    Phish Esq. New Member

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    I would recomend you see a psychiatrist, not a psychologist
     
  3. Agreed. That and a Neurologist in combination.
     
  4. Layne Staley

    Layne Staley New Member

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    I have panic attacks, and it all leads back to 6 years ago when I had a horror trip on mushrooms. Something apparently got rewired in my head. I've gotten more control over it now, but a couple years ago I could be having the best time of my life somewhere, and BAM out of nowhere, the feelings of losing control and absolute terror came on. I felt like I just wanted to "get away" when this happened, but I didn't know where....I just had an overwhelming urge to "go". Hard to explain, unless you've ever experienced a panic attack.
    Now I can't even smoke weed or get a small buzz from alcohol, b/c that feeling of "losing control" comes back and it spirals into a big mess. I'm going to have rotator cuff surgery next month....and I'm really not looking forward to the anesthesia being given....b/c I know in those few moments before I pass out/go to sleep, I'm going to in severe panic mode b/c the anesthesia is taking over and causing me to lose control.
     
  5. kitty

    kitty Uppity ass cat OT Supporter

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    Hi~
    I'm not sur if your feeling any better but I belong to another board that deals with nothing but health issues. It is VERY good. Looking around in the Brain Damage forum, I stumbled around about 4 or 5 cases close to yours.
    http://www.healthboards.com/
    I think I understand what you are asking, and the site could answer your questions better than I could, but if you would like to PM or email me, please feel free...I understand:)

    Good Luck
    Kitty
     
  6. Penny1484

    Penny1484 cute but kind of evil

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    same thing happened to me, except it was weed that caused it. i used to smoke fairly regularly, not chronically, but usually 4 or 5 times a week. one day out of nowhere when i was high i had this huge panic attack. i actually thought i was having a heart attack, my chest was in agony and my left arm hurt and my breath was getting short. went to the hospital, and they were like, you have not had a heart attack. i was completely confused as i had no idea what had happened to me. i stopped smoking weed, but the attacks kept coming...i started getting them at random times, and the same time every morning. finally i saw a shrink and a doctor and was put on meds and therapy. my doctor said the same thing, that something had been rewired in my head. i continued to have the attacks for a little while, and then they finally got less and less, then stopped. panic attacks suck ass, but at least i know now that you can cause them to stop with the right combo of help. good luck.
     
  7. IDx

    IDx Elite User

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    how does the brain get re-wired? is this in anyway reversible? scary shit
     
  8. Toda Party

    Toda Party .....

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    The anesthesia will put you to sleep instantly, you won't know a thing. I had surgery 5 weeks ago and all i remember is them telling me to take deep breaths, next thing I remember is waking up. Waking up is the weird part... its not like waking up from sleep, but you will be so groggy that you won't freak out.
     
  9. I have panic attacks and agorophobia and it wasn't due to smoking or drugs because I didn't do them. It is biological (in my case). I have 3 birth sisters with the same thing. We didn't grow up together so it wasn't even environmental. I am 43 now and have had them since age 26. In my case they got better on Prozac and Trazodone and was able to work for 15 years, but after 15 years those drugs suddenly quit working and I'm house bound again. My doctor now has me on Lexapro, Trileptal, and Xanax. But I'm still having the attacks. I'm on disability from work. You should check into that at your workplace, or at least apply for FMLA leave so you don't lose your job. Anyway, I've applied for Social Security Disability and my lawyer says I'll get it, but it takes a long time. I've lived a half life for the past 17 years, ever since this disease hit. I hope you can get over yours and not have to suffer as I have. Good luck to you!
     

  10. :x: That is exactly what I do. I have a few really good friends who come and literally drag me out of house and take me to places close by (like to dinner or short shopping trips). It really helps. It helps the panic attacks and it helps with self esteem. That is the best advice I can give you.
     
  11. metoots13

    metoots13 New Member

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    no real advice here, but when I got clean I had panic attacks that came out of nowhere, so I feel for you, that shaky, wanting to run feeling and not being able to breathe really sucks, got better after quitting drinking and drugs after about a year, and now at almost 3 years hardly ever get one ever.

    Good luck.
     
  12. i've been suffering from panic attacks and agoraphobiz for 4 years now. its some scary shit for sure. mine is mostly mental but also there is a chemical imbalance as well. i know a lot of my triggers but they can also just hit you out of nowhere. actually, i just got off medical leave from my job because of it. you said your boundaries are the short distance from your home. unfortunately for me, my mother's house is one of my triggers along with my mother. a lot of bad health and emotional problems happened to me while i was at that house so to go there is panic attack suicide. now the bad part, I was forced to move back in here about a month ago. im literally dying. I havent been able to work and get out the house because i just suffocate here and can't move, even tho this house is what is causing it. my only advice for you is to try some medication. not everything works for everyone. i have been put on 5 different meds with not a single one working. finally they just put me on wellbutrin xl which is in a completely different category as things like effexor and paxil and those. i have found this to work really well for me so if you are not receptive to some medications they give you, please ask for new ones. and make sure when you stop taking the meds, you step down the dosage like you did when you started taking the meds. i was stubborn and just quit one day and it ended me up in the hospital cuz i just lost control. locked down for three days is not fun considering hospitals is also one of my triggers. they love to shove pills down your throat while you are there too which now is a trigger too. pm me if you want to talk or anything. its scary but it can be lived with. i dont think mine will ever fully go away like someone above me said but it definately can be dealt with.
     
  13. beth150

    beth150 New Member

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    in a sense i understand how you all feel

    my mom has been like this since i was 2 im now 27, she does not go out at all and though im not like this i stay home to be with her, so to the thread starter dont end up like this jeez

    you said your scared of pushes ur safe zone in case you have an attack or ur scared in case you have an attack and go back to where you started, please dont be, you need to stop thinking like that and think if i have one i have one *shrug* tomorrow i'll just get up and go about my bizz just as normal, your doing great so far well done :bowdown: dont give up

    i agree with the person who said you need to see someone
     
  14. rchlgnd

    rchlgnd Guest

    The advice you have been given here about medications and professional help is good advice, but I would further add that there is an organization called Emotions Anonymous which is for people who are powerless over their emotions as a first step. It is based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and it may offer you some spiritual help as well. EA is based out of St. Paul, Minnesota and you can get literature from there or from Hazelden. I worked in a maximum security prison for years and often suffered panic attacks there and I know that the serenity prayer and constantly reaffirming the third step got me through many difficult hours and days of fear.
     
  15. psychade

    psychade Almost functional

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    I went through this myself. I was about 17 and I got a bad hit of acid. I freaked out horridly. After that night if I went to hit a joint I'd freak out and think I was going to die. I quit all drugs and really couldn't even drink. I refused to eat fast food for fear that someone would put something in it and I would loose control again and panic.

    I had panic attacks about having panic attacks. It got so bad I barely left the house for 2 years. I only ate food out of sealed containers. I couldn't hold a job, I was fucked up. I finally got some help and I currently take paxil CR. I have been on paxil for about 3 years. I'm 24 now, this all started at about 17.

    If you ever need someone to talk to send me a message on AIM.
     
  16. More&Faster

    More&Faster New Member

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    wow i can relate to a lot of what all you guys said. i had no idea this sort of thing was so common. :)

    i've had a similar problem, and it was really bad for me for a long time, where i couldnt sleep and never wanted to go anywhere and couldnt be around more than a few people at a time. like someone said, i would get panic attacks about panic attacks. it was hell, and i had no escape. slowly i got better, and one of the things that was groundbreaking for me was when i started to ride my bike. i rode to school everyday, and when i could, i would go on longer rides. for some reason it was a big confidence booster, and helped me move on. i think maybe it was the daily dose of endorphines that kept putting a smile on my face, or maybe just the freedom to go wherever i want. also, i was on paxil for one year which probably did more than anything else. either way, its been about 3 years since it started, and i have gotten way better.

    i think you really just have to conquer your fear, and figure out ways to do it slowly. as you get better, you'll be more motivated to keep working at it. good luck to everyone :wavey:
     
  17. johny

    johny Guest

    I think it's very possible to get your brain "re-wired" as a result of drug use. I had my first panic attack after getting incredibly baked in college. Here I am, 20 years later, no longer smoking herb but left with some sort of anxiety disorder. Something broke in my brain, or some door was opened that should have stayed shut.

    On the bright side of things, anxiety disorders are very treatable. They tend to recommend both a pyschiatrist (to prescribe medicine, if needed) and a psychologist (to talk with about why it is you're having troubles). There are good books out there, one of which I think is "The Panic Disorder Workbook" or "The Phobia Workbook" or some such thing (if anyone has any interest, let me know and I'll find the book).

    Booze and drugs make it worse, in my experience. Naturally, caffeine doesn't help.

    I wish you the best. Panic attacks can be debilitating, to say the least. But you can make it through.
     
  18. Shiver

    Shiver New Member

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    You guys, Panic Attacks are ALL IN THE HEAD. They can't hurt you. It's when you become fearful of a panic attack that you get a panic attack. Try this, try to induce the biggest panic attack you can but constantly remind yourself that it's nothing and that it can't hurt you. Do this one, two, or three times, you will never have a panic attack again. And don't avoid situations because of your panic attacks, you are only reinforcing the notion that you have a problem. You have no problem. I had panic anxiety attacks and I you just need to convince yourself that you are fine. You have to take control of it. You have more power than your panic attacks will have you believe.

    And don't think of re-wiring of the brain to be some scary notion. Your brain is re-wired everyday. Experiences change your brain. This was just one particular scary experience that made your brain fear all occurences of it. It is VERY POSSIBLE to completely overcome and be like you were before you ever started it. Just ignore your anxiety. Stop thinking about it, stop worrying about it. It will go away I PROMISE. It's teh constant worrying, thinking, anxiety about it that causes this disorder. It's an endless cycle and that's why people fall victim to it. Stop thinking up theories about what's going on in your head. Just ignore it, DIVERT your attention to something else, and it WILL go away.

    The reason you have anxiety disorders is that your brain has adopted this new threshold of anxiety. The less you think about it, the less your body adopts a less anxious threshold and that becomes the norm, pretty soon the normal level of anxiety will be so low that you won't even be thinking about it and it will go away all together. Trust me on this. I've been through it.

    Panic Attacks occur as a result layers of anxiety. Because you have anxiety all the time and are always in a heightened anxious state, it is easier for you to panic and easier for you to increase your anxiety. Anxiety makes it hard for you to think rationally and clearly about what happens, you think crazy thoughts, you have more anxiety. JUST IGNORE IT! There is nothign wrong with you. You don't need medication. Nothing. IGNORE IT AND IT WILL GO AWAY! You are feeding yoru anxiety attacks by fearing and thinking about it. Tell yourself that your are COMPLETELY NORMAL and that it will go away when you stop constnatly thinking abou tit.


    There are people who have had many panic attacks but are perfectly fine because they ignore it. You guys are unfortunate because you've had espeically bad panic attacks and were tossed into a state of fear which just perpetuates your anxiety.

    You know why you have agoraphobia? Because you BELIEVE that if you go outside, you will hav ea panic attack. Ignore that shit and dont let it affect your life. Don't fear it, it's worthless. It cant hurt you and no one has ever died of a panic attack. Sure, it's unpleasant, but really what can it do to you? After inducing panic attacks on yourself, you will eliminate it ALL TOGETHER. It will never come.. You only have panic attacsk because you fear panic attacks. Try it. Try to induce a panic attack and reaffirm yourself that you'll be fine. Ever notice that there are times when your mind is completely diverted that you dont feel any anxiety or panic at all? That is because your are not thinking abou tit. If there was something really wrong with you, you'd have anxiety ALL THE TIME.

    STOP GOING TO DOCTORS.
    STOP TAKING MEDICATIONS.
    STOP CHANGING YOUR LIFE AROUND THESE PANIC ATTACKS

    You are reinforcing your fear! It can go away by itself. If you really think about it, panic attacks are really dumb.

    Also, if you have panic attack induced anxiety remember.. It's not the drug that did this to you persay. For example, Pot, MDMA,. etc did not "re-wire" your brain. Your panic attack did. Many people have the same type of panic attaacks on many different types of drugs, even high doses of caffeine, and have the same panic attack symptoms. It is a result of FEAR, not a result of the drug.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2005
  19. My Panic Attacks were caused by more than something just in my head. An infectious disease can cause them, as well as trauma, brain damage/stroke, as well as MS, and a host of other neurological problems which affect more than just the psyche and psychological, but also the biological issues having come from an external issue outside of the body.
     
  20. shaunone

    shaunone Guest

    panic attacks, anxiety sucks.....
     
  21. iim new but i wanted to share that i've had panic attacks for years, taken lots of meds and would be glad to share experiences- you're not alone!
     
  22. selfpollution

    selfpollution New Member

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    I used to have them a bunch and I sort of agree with Shiver. Another thing I do is try to keep my nervous system healthy. I you are over tired, too much coffee, hungover or on drugs your nervous system is shot and you are more vulnerable to this kind of thing.

    Another thing to keep in mind, seriously, is that while one is taking place, ask yourself, what is the worst thing that could possibly happen? The worst thing that can ever possibly happen is that you would die, and if you really sit down and think about it, it's not really a big deal. Most likely the worst thing that will happen, if you don't breathe and get a grip of your fear, is that you could faint or something.
    Try meditating on your on mortality and you will realize there isn't really much to be scared of. I think all these stress/anxiety/drug problems in our society, at least partly, stem from a culture that fears death more than anything.
     
  23. mission40b

    mission40b crackhead deluxe

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    Exactly, i just had surgery thursday and was concerned with pre/post anastesia anxiety, but none whatsoever. Even when the doctor came over and told me they couldnt get ahold of my parents and that I would have to wait longer, it didnt phase me the least, normally it would.
     
  24. mission40b

    mission40b crackhead deluxe

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    I know you said you knew what your triggers were. Thats a key to resolving your anxiety, I want to say, is that tricking your brain will stop these feelings. If I feel early signs of anxiety i will do something to to take my mind off it. For example if your stuck in standstill traffic and feel an attack come on, blast the radio and sing along, it helps, call someone and just chat, i keep a book/reading material nearby. If im not going anywhere ill look at the paper and feelings will subside. My doctor told me after my first attack, that your body is normally unable to sustain multiple panic attack over the course of the day, so it will usually be one or 2 so dont worry about falling into a constant state of panic attacks throught the day. Like I said the most important thing is to try and trick yourself out of having one, hope this helps you. I'd also like to add that some may think this may not work, but i've been off all anxiety medication for 3 years now, and while I often feel pre-anxiety signs, I have not had an actual panic attack since i have come in control over them. I'd be willing to help anyone if they have questions, Godd Luck all.
     
  25. mission40b

    mission40b crackhead deluxe

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    Shiver, you nailed it on the head. Although im sure sufferers from anxiety may not enjoy the tone it was presented with, you're right. I used to curse myelf and just be pissed off that i would let panic attacks get the best of me and perhaps a harsh tone is what it takes for somone to get it. I think with the panic attacks and agoraphobia its not the setting, its the actual fear of having the panic attack itself, that freaks people out, you must come to terms of not having panic attacks and feeding into them and you will be alot better, when you feel an onset change you mind think of a funny story talk to someone, sont not mention to yourself our anyonelse that u feel a panic attack as it will bring it on, think of anything BUT the attack.
     

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